Russellville casino proposal heard in Arkansas State Supreme Court

September 29, 2023

The Cherokee Nation's revoked license to operate Legends Resort and Casino has reportedly brought the Tribe to court five times already.

A propose new casino for Russellville, Arkansas was part of a recent Supreme Court hearing. Five years ago, four potential casinos were approved by voters in the state, and three of those four are now open and operating.

According to local reports, Russellville was one of the locations approved in the 2018 vote on Amendment 100. However, progress has been stalled due to various court proceedings.

Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC), said, “I don't think anyone knew at the time, but that really set off a firestorm. It was a hot topic then, and it's a hot topic now.

“The litigation has never stopped. There's never been a point where we pulled back and said, 'OK, we're close to the end here.' However, now, at this point, it looks like we are getting there."

A Mississippi company was originally granted a license by the ARC to operate a casino in Russellville, but this was revoked. The license was subsequently awarded to Legends Resort and Casino, owned by the Cherokee Nation.

However, a January ruling in the Pulaski County Circuit Court found that the ARC erred when it gave a license to Legends, which was not qualified to build the casino it had planned for 325 acres of Russellville land.

Legends has now appealed with the Arkansas State Supreme Court. The Cherokee Nation currently owns and operates 10 other casino venues in Oklahoma.

Hardin said, "Legends, in one of their legal briefings, noted that they had already been before the Supreme Court five times."


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